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MAY 2012 


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ishing Through Rivers of His 


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Fishing Throiigli Rivers of Histon 
bv Chai'lie Petrocci 
At C. F. Phelps \\"\L\ aiul the upper 
Raf)paIiaiinock Ri\ er. anglei-s ran snare a hit of" 
( :i\ i I \\ ar histon aloii^^ with tl lei v eatel i . 

Bass Fishing's Next Generation 

hv Diwk] Hart 

A new outreach efTort ofTlie Bass Federation 
tar<^ets\<)unfran'rlerson familiar "round 
school ])r()|)eit\ at the enri oCthe day. 

Pack to Sun ive 

l)v Gail Brown 

I leaf led out for a dav hike!' E\en the most 
e\|ierienced hikei"s i*ecommend taking a pack 
uTlh essential. life-saxTniJ items. 

A \ bice for the Rivers 

hv Randall Shank 

Foithe past 2()\ears.a small hul dedicated cadre 
ofxolnnteers has heen lookiuj^out tor.and 
speaking up for. two outstanding ri\ers. 

Room Enough ff)r All 
bvWillianiH. Funk 

Farmland isajirecious resource thai henefitsall 
of us. wildlife included. Protecting it from ile\el- 
o|)ment is one of the .states manyvisionan goals. 

ZL \\ here There's a W ill, There's a \\ ay 

l)\ Bruce Ingrain 

\ \oung man in ( .raig (!ount\ emhodies the very 
hest of the outdoors s|)irit and ser"ves as a role 
model to others challenge-d h\ a physical disability. 


28 \\ hiletail Biol<)g\ • 30 Vccommodating Wildlife 
32 PholoTi|j.s • 33 On llu'Water • 34 Dining hi 

\BOUT THE CO\ ER: hass. Slon on na-c 10. ' Bill Liiidiicr 

Executive Director 

Recently I read an anicle in a well-respected publication 
suggesting that we have entered into a new era where 
man is controlling everything by virtue of his impacts upon the 
environment. The concept put forth was that "mother nature is 
dead" and that man's direct effect on a substantial portion of the 
earth's vegetation has reached a tipping point; one where, sup- 
posedly, it is man who will decide what is left of nature. The ar- 
ticle made a compelling case of how man, as a species — the 
Johnny-Come-Lately to this planet — has had and continues to 
have a dominant impact upon our world. 

There is no question that we have changed or otherwise af- 
fected many of the ecosystems around the globe. Given our 
knowledge about current issues associated with the world's 
oceans and marine resources, we also know that our impacts are 
not limited to land masses. We have altered our earthly habitat, 
and we are now experiencing a broad range of challenges, in- 
cluding a war on invasive species, water shortages, the loss of 
flora and fauna, and related resource issues. The list continues. 

I am certainly not a futurist or a doomsday predictor, but I 
do believe that we have the power within our individual actions 
to change the outcome of this planetary roulette game. By 
changing our habits and expectations, we — as individuals and 
as a race — can change the outcome. We must not only live this 
credo but convince others that our ftiture depends upon our 
ability to turn to more sustainable enterprises. 

This theme of sustainability courses throughout the stories 
inside, perhaps none more so than "A Voice for the Rivers" — 
the feature about the Mattaponi & Pamunkey Rivers Associa- 
tion — and "Room Enough for All, " about the importance of 
preserving Virginia's farmland. Like other stewardship-based 
messages, I am reminded of the importance of each individual's 
actions, and example to others, in effecting change. Time and 
again, it is the rumbling of action at the ground — or grass- 
roots — level first, picking up volume as it rises upward, that 
forces us to re-think the way we are conduaing ourselves. 

Adopting sustainable living practices is both necessary and 
exciting, and has the power to unleash our creative human spir- 
it. The alternative — living in a world without nature — is un- 
tenable to me, as I suspect it is to you. 


To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish :o maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 



Bob McDonnell, Governor 


Subsidized this publication 

Douglas W. Domenech 



Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 


Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
J. Brent Clarke, III, Great Falls 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
Ben Davenport, Chatham 
Garry L. Gray, Bowling Green 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
Hugh Palmer, Highland Springs 
P. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 


Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Contributing Editors i 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager i 


Printing by Progress Printing Plus, Lynchburg, VA 

Virginia WiWife (ISSN 0042 6792) is ptiblished month; 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie 
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virgin; 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 830, Boone, Iowa 50036. Address a 
other communications concerning this publication to Vi 
ginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1104, 4010 West Broad Stree 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates ai 
$12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 per eac 
back issue, subject to availability. Oui-of-country rate 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. funds. No r< 
funds for amounts less than S5.00. To subscribe, call toll 
free (800) 710-9369. POSTMASTER: Please send x 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 830, Boon, 
Iowa 50036. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond. V'i 
ginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2012 by the Virginia Department ot Came an 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fi.sheries shall affor 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs an 
facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national or 
gin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe that you have bee 
discriminated against in any program, activity or facilir 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game and Inlan 
Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broa, 
Street.) P O. Box 1 1 1 04, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 10* 

This publication is intended for general informational pui 
poses only and every effort has been made to ensure its ai 
curacy. The information contained herein does not serve ; 
a legal representation offish and wildlife laws or regulation 
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries dot 
not assume responsibility for any change in dates, regul^ 
tion,s, or information that may occur after publication. 

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Map by Sneden, Robert Knox, 1 832- 1 9 1 8, a U.S. Army soldier or employee 

C.F. Phelps 


Management Area 

Offers Fishing, 


AND History 

by Charlie Petrocci 

It was a chilly morning, with fog lilting 
slowly off the rock-strewn river. Long- 
nose gar ambushed baitfish up against 
the bank, fat shad broke the waters surface, 
and bullhead catfish groveled along the bot- 
tom for unknown edibles. As dawn crawled 
up the treeline, large shadows formed along 
the rivers edge. Silently these shapes entered 
the fast-moving, cold water. Suddenly the 
stillness was shattered and the water began to 
boil, not from feeding fish, but fi-om horses, 
bullets, and falling men. Deer ran through 
the woods and the gar, catfish, and shad swam 
for their lives. 

This was the opening scene at Kelly's 
Ford on the Rappahannock River during the 
morning of March 17, 1863. It was the third 
year of the Civil War, and the Rappahannock 
had become the line in the sand for the Con- 
federacy during those bloody days of batde. 
Because of this, the river was frequently con- 
tested and fords, crossings, and bridges be- 
came military hot spots. Today many of those 
historic hot spots along Virginias rivers are 
great fishing hot spots as well. 

Numerous rivers in Virginia played an 
important role during the Civil War — the 
James, Appomattox, and Chickahominy, to 
name a few. Anglers fishing these historic 
areas today often unknowingly cast alongside 
the ghosts of the past. One of the recreation 
areas steeped in history is the C.F. Phelps 
Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located 
astride the Rappahannock River in both 
Culpeper and Fauquier counties. 


-f Anglers enjoy a leisurely fishing float down the 
Q Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford. 


C.F. Phelps WMA 

The Battle of Kelly's Ford took place on the 
western side of the Rappahannock River, in 
and around the C.F. Phelps Wildlife Manage- 
ment Area. As a matter of fact, the bridge and 
adjacent WMA boat slide area are situated in 
the thick of the historic site. Just 200 yards 
downstream from the boat slide parking lot is 
the actual crossing site of the Union cavalry 
on that historic day. Behind the sign marking 
the site are the remnants of the Confederate 
riffle pits which overlooked the river. 

C.F Phelps WMA is a beautiful, well- 
managed area offering the public wildlife- 
related outdoor recreation opportunities, 
with numerous places to park and access ad- 
ministrative roads. The primary activities here 
include hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, 
and bird watching. Of the 4,539 acres on the 
property, over 1,000 of these are open mead- 
ows and fields. There is also a 3-acre pond 
hosting bass, catfish, and sunfish. And the 
sound of gunshots still echo at C.F. Phelps, 
though now they come from modern 
weapons wielded by hunters seeking rabbit, 
deer, and squirrel, or from sportsmen utiliz- 
ing the modern sighting-in range located on 
the property. 

One of the nice attributes about Vir- 
ginia's wildlife management areas is that 
many of them are open for camping. And this 
includes C.F. Phelps. This is primitive camp- 
ing, so don't expect to find toilets, showers, or 
pre-cut firewood for sale. Camping in these 

Kelly's Ford. Harper's Weekly, 1 863 

The Battle of Kelly's Ford 

The Battle of Kelly's Ford was not a large Civil War engagement com- 
pared to others fought in Virginia, but It was significant. A classic 
cavalry battle, it took place in the fields along the Rappahannock River, 
which formed the dividing line between Union and Confederate armies 
during the 1863 and 1864 campaigns. And the battle set the stage for the 
forthcoming larger actions fought at Brandy Station and Remington Sta- 
tion, also located around the Rappahannock. Kelly's Ford was important 
because it was the first time in the war that Union cavalry held the line and 
beat back Confederate troopers on their own ground. 

The riverside battle unfolded because Confederate General Fitzhugh 
Lee (a nephew of Robert E. Lee) had been raiding across the Rappahan- 
nock, targeting Union Army of the Potomac supply lines. Frustrated, 
Union commander General Joe Hooker dispatched Brig. General William 
Averell and 3,000 cavalry to seek and destroy Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry. Ironi- 
cally, Lee and Averell were good friends at West Point before the war And 
on his last raid Lee left a note for his friend, stating, "I wish you would put 
up your sword and leave my state. If you won't go home, return my visit 
and bring me a sack of coffee." 

On the morning of St. Patrick's Day, 1863, Gen. Averell splashed 
across the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford with 2,100 Union cavalry troops 
and a battery of cannon to pay a visit to his old friend (900 soldiers were 
sent upriver). The troopers had to force the crossing at Kelly's Ford be- 
cause 60 Confederate sharpshooters held the opposite side. Soon 
Fitzhugh Lee showed up with about 800 cavalry to oppose him and the 
battle see-sawed back and forth in the fields and woods along Route 674 
for hours. (Union cavalry Capt. Marcus Reno participated; in 1876, he 
fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and survived.) Both sides charged 
the other with gallantry and by 5:30 that afternoon Averell finally pulled 
his exhausted men back across the river, leaving the dead behind. He had 
proven that Union troopers could fight spur to spur with veteran Confed- 
erate cavalry. And though the Confederates held the field that day, they 
did lose their famous artillery chief Major John Pelham, who had joined in 
one of the charges. (He was ironically killed by an artillery shell.) And 
Averell did not forget his old friend when he left this note behind: "Dear 
Fitz, Here's your coffee. Here's your visit. How did you like it?" 

Primitive camping is allowed at C.F. Phelps WMA. 

MAY 2012 ♦ 


♦ Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries, 
C.F. Phelps WMA: 
Includes detailed information on 
dates open, map, directions. 

♦ Friends of C. F. Phelps WMA 
5669 Sumerduck Road 
Remington, VA 22734 

♦ Culpeper: A Virginia County's 
History Througli 1920, by Eugene 

♦ National Park Service, 
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania 
Military Park Brochure 

♦ A Driving Tour of Civil War Culpeper, 
Culpeper Department of Tourism 

Wade-fishing is popular in the upper Rappahannock River, but safe access will require 
a bit of hiking. 

natural areas is not for the feint of heart. But if 
you want to have a genuine outdoor experi- 
ence and wake up in your element, then it's a 
challenging alternative to standard camping 
sites in parks and private campgrounds. 

Though C.F. Phelps WMA is popular 
for hunting, there is also access to fishing the 
Rappahannock from the property. One of 
those areas is in and around Kelly's Ford, 
which offers a boat slide for canoe, kayak, or 
small tin boat. You can also wade-fish here, 
but the steep banks can be tough to navigate. 
There are a couple of easier access points from 
the main section of the WMA along the east- 
ern side of the river, including a trail that runs 
adjacent to the gas line. Accessing most of 
these fishing sites will involve a litde hiking. 

Fishing THE Rapp 

The Rappahannock is an ancient river travers- 
ing hillsides, farmland, meadows, and his- 
toric sites. Its framework is made up of stones 
and bones. In other words, it has plenty of 
rocks — which makes for great fish habitat — 
and lots of brush and deadfall wood, which 
also creates cover, but a potential obstacle 
course for anglers working its waters. 

The birthplace of the Rappahannock 
River is Chester Gap in the Blue Ridge 

The Rappahannock is known for fine smallmouth bass fishing, but occasionally largemouths 
are also taken. These fell for large surface poppers cast with a flyrod. 

Mountains. It flows for approximately 184 
miles down to its terminus at the Chesapeake 
Bay. The upper end of the river, all 60 some 
odd miles of it to Fredericksburg, are desig- 
nated State Scenic River, and deservedly so. 
Anglers fishing the upper end of the river 
have a shot at an assortment of gamefish, in- 
cluding redbreast sunfish, shad, channel cat- 
fish, and its famed hard pulling smallmouth 

bass. Besides wade-fishing, one of the best 
ways to fish the river is either by canoe or 
kayak. The 25-mile run from Kelly's Ford 
down to Mott's Landing is the most popular 
and scenic, but involves a rwo-day trip. You 
can also access the Rappahannock River by 
dropping in a boat on the Rapidan River, 
which is a major tributary, at the bridge along 
Route 522. Possibly the most sane way to fish 



Be a Culture Vulture 

There are people out there who 
you could call culture vul- 
tures—those whose passion Is history 
and heritage. Mix this with a dose of 
hunting, fishing, and camping and 
you have the makings of an addiction. 
I guess I am one of those addicted cul- 
ture vultures because I often find my- 
self seeking a human cultural 
connection to the landscape or water- 
scape I am fishing or hunting in. Those 
connections could be native Ameri- 
cans, colonial settlements, or historic 
battle sites. For me this cultural pas- 
sion adds depth and a sense of place 
to the outdoor experience. And I also 
believe it's good for the soul. 

There are many great fishing 
areas in Virginia where anglers can 
not only immerse themselves in great 
fishing, but also in state history. And 
there is no better time than now. 

since Virginia is in the throes of ac- 
knowledging the 125"" anniversary of 
the Civil War To celebrate this bench- 
mark in Virginia, a state-of-the-art 
"history mobile," (a walk-through 
truck trailer exhibit) is traveling 
around the state for the next several 
years, making stops at state parks, his- 
toric sites, and museums. 

Some of those public areas that 
offer fishing and other recreation op- 
portunities among Civil War historic 
sites include the Rapidan River, Appo- 
mattox River, North Anna River, James 
River, and the Staunton River, to name 
just a handful. And of course down- 
stream from Kelly's Ford on the Rap- 
pahannock is famous Fredericksburg, 
the scene of a huge, bloody winter 
battle whence the river once again 
formed the dividing line between the 

A traveling exhibit is currently making its way around the state in recognition of 
the 125th anniversary ofthe Civil War. 

the Rappahannock is to contact area canoe 
liveries that can help get you on and off the 
water. Local tackle shops in Fredericksburg 
will have information. 

Though smallmouth bass are the most 
popular target species on the Rappahannock 
today, they weren't there when Union cavalry 
crossed the river that morning in 1863. As a 
matter of fact, it wasn't until the beginning of 

the turn of the century that smallmouths 
made an appearance in the river through 
stocking efforts. 

"Native fish from the Civil War era on 
the Rappahannock included shad, herring, 
fallfish, iongnose gar, northern hogsuckers, 
chubs, bullhead catfish, and striped bass, ex- 
plained DGIF fisheries biologist John 
Odenkirk. Not a glorious line-up except for 

Biologists studying the Rappahannock's 
fisheries since the removal ofthe Embrey Dam 
are seeing a shift in populations, including 
more striped bass in the upper river 

the stripers. "Since the Embrey Dam came 
down, we are once again seeing striped bass, 
herring, and shad in the upper end of the 
Rappahannock and hopefiilly their numbers 
will increase as time goes on," added 

The Rappahannock is a pretty river, but 
may not win any beauty pageants with its fre- 
quent muddy water, eroded banks, and crag- 
gy islands. What it lacks in looks it certainly 
makes up for in angling opportunities, local 
history, and outdoor recreation along its 
course. For those of us who love the marriage 
of history and outdoor recreation, the land 
and waters around the C.F. Phelps Wildlife 
Management Area beckon you. And if you 
are fortunate to fish the river on a cool, fog- 
strewn spring morning, listen for the splash of 
horses, the rattle of sabers, and the bugle call 
of command from Virginia's past. It may take 
your fishing trip into another dimension. ?f 

Charlie Petrocci is a maritime heritage researcher, 
writer, lecturer, and consultant who specializes in 
coastal traditions such as fisheries, seafood, and 
community fi)lklife. He has lived on the Eastern 
Shore for the past 25 years. 

MAY 2012 ♦ 

Bass Fishing's Next Gc 

Youth clubs instill 

a love of fishing... 

and learning. 

by David Hart 

Zach Francis admits he was pretty 
nervous when he walked across the 
weigh-in stage at the National Guard 
Junior World Championship in Arkansas 
last year. Who could blame him? Just 1 3 at 
the time, the Abingdon eighth-grader was 
standing in front of hundreds of spectators 
when fishing icon, television host, and tour- 
nament emcee Hank Parker stuck a micro- 
phone in his face and asked him about his 
day on the water. Zach handled himself well, 
offering a run-down of his techniques along 
with his overall thoughts of the two-day 

His journey to that stage started in Vir- 
ginia. As a member of Southwest Virginia 
Junior Anglers, Zach fished his way through a 
series of youth tournaments over the course 
of several months to win the 11 to 14 age 
group in the Virginia Bass Federation's junior 
championship. His win earned him a trip to 
Arkansas and the right to compete against 
boys and girls from all over the United States. 
Nicholas Bodsford, of Richmond, also won 
the 15 to 18 age group and advanced to the 
national championship last year, as well. 

Zach's club is one of seven in the state 
that are under the umbrella of the 700-mem- 
ber Virginia Bass Federation (VBF). All of the 
youth clubs are sponsored by an adult VBF 
club, which mentors the boys and girls who 
participate. In some cases, the adults serve as 
boat captains who shuttle the young anglers 
across the water during various fishing events. 
Sometimes, the adult clubs simply act as 
mentors, offering advice on how to be better 
anglers for all species offish. 

Just For Kids 

The VBF's youth program isn't just designed 
to groom the next generation of bass tourna- 
ment anglers. Tournaments are part of each 
club's regular activities, but the youth pro- 
gram is much more than that, says Zach's dad, 
Andy Francis, who also serves as the club's 
adult advisor. Along with scheduled tourna- 
ments in which the kids fish against each 
other or against other clubs around the state, 
the young anglers get together for regular 
meetings to discuss their favorite subject. 
They also participate in conservation projects 
and sometimes they just go fishing. 

"We've planted brush piles in local lakes 
and we are working on organizing a litter 
pick-up at one of the ramps on South Hol- 
ston Reservoir," says Andy. "The club is fo- 
cused on fishing, but it's certainly much more 
than that. When we moved to Abingdon 
from South Boston, Zach made some new 
friends pretty quick when he joined this 



The junior angler program does require a 
sponsorship by an adult VBF club member, 
somediing that can be difficult to find these 

"A lot of the Virginia Bass Federation 
adult members just don't have the necessary 
time that sponsoring a youth club demands, " 
says The Bass Federation (TBF) National 
Youth Director Mark Gintert. "It's certainly 
not unique to Virginia, either. We have hun- 
dreds of youth clubs throughout the country, 
but we could certainly have a lot more if the 
adult clubs could find the time to mentor a 
youth club. It's difficult in today's world." 

Coming To A School Near You? 

That's one reason the TBF started the Student 
Angler Federation last year. Unlike the junior 
angler program, SAF clubs do not require an 
adult club sponsor. Instead, they are school- 
based clubs that are no different than any 
other school-sanctioned organization that 
meets on a regular basis on school grounds. 
They only need the blessing of administrators \ 
along with an in-school sponsor, usually a i 
teacher or administrator who understands the | 
thrill fishing brings to kids. The SAF provides @ 


Left, Abingdon eighth-grader Zack Francis earned 
a trip to the National Guard Junior World Champion- 
ship last year. He competed against young anglers 
across the country and met his hero, Frank Parker 
Kids in youth fishing clubs learn teamwork and 
respect while becoming better anglers. 

guidelines for organizing a club along with 
support in the form of educational materials 
and fundraising assistance, says Gintert. 

"We also provide insurance and assis- 
tance in planning club events," he adds. 
"Mosdy, though, the kids themselves run the 
clubs. They make all the decisions and deter- 
mine the activides with the help of their adult 

So far, t\\'o SAF clubs have formed in 
Virginia (one is Orange County High 
School), but Gintert, who oversees the na- 
tional SAF program, says he's received numer- 
ous requests for information and expects the 
program to grow substantially throughout the 
state. It certainly has in other states. Last year 
alone, 300 school clubs formed, including at 
least 35 in Arkansas and nearly as many in 
Kentucky, and Gintert expects that many or 
more will come on board in the coming years. 

"I'm hoping we will see school-to-school 
rivalries just like we see with high school foot- 
ball or soft:ball programs," adds Gintert. "That 


MAY 2012 ♦ 11 















Nicholas Bodsford of Richmond with Frank 
Parker at the National Guard Jr. World 

happened with two SAF clubs in Florida last 
year and all the kids, along with school offi- 
cials, absolutely loved it." 

That hasn't happened in Virginia yet, 
but if Command Sergeant Major Michael 
"Doc" McGhee has any say, it will. McGhee, 
who works at Fort Pickett, serves as the advi- 
sor to Virginias other SAF club at Kenston 
Forest School in Blackstone. He hopes stu- 
dents in other schools throughout Virginia 
will form clubs so he and his Kenston Forest 
students can fish against them in a tourna- 
ment format. 

The Great Equalizer 

Those tournaments aren't the focus of the 
Student Angler Federation, although they are 
an important part to many student partici- 
pants. McGhee says students only need one 
common interest: fishing. But just as schools 
hold students to minimum grade-point aver- 
ages, good attendance, and other require- 
ments for other sports, McGhee says Kenston 
Forest students must meet similar require- 
ments just to be in the club. 

"They serve as a great incentive for doing 
well in class," he notes. "That's one of the best 
things about this program. A student doesn't 
have to be a great athlete or a math whiz to 
enjoy fishing. Everyone can do it, as long as 
they meet the grade and attendance require- 

Gintert says a survey of SAF club mem- 
bers in Illinois found that 60 percent of the 
students did not participate in any other 












«'• ■' 



Emma Wright of the Kenston Forest Student 
Angler Federation Club is all smiles after a 
good fishing day. 

"That tells me that a lot of kids need an- 
other outlet that gets them off the couch and 
outside. That's the ultimate goal of this organ- 
ization. Fishing is a great equalizer," says Gin- 
tert. "You don't have to be six-two and 200 
pounds to go fishing. In fact, we have a lot of 
girls who participate." 

McGhee's club is tremendously popular, 
with about 10 percent of the 350-student 
body participating, including many athletes 
and girls. He admits he was somewhat sur- 
prised by that, but in hindsight, why should 
he be? 

"A lot of our kids come from rural set- 
tings, so fishing is part of their lives, whether 
they play football or not. I really shouldn't be 
surprised that the club is so popular among 
kids from all walks of life," he says. 

Only a handful of the club's members 
participate in tournaments, but everyone 
who joins does so because they love to fish. Or 
they want to learn, which is exactly what 
McGhee and Gintert want to see. As partici- 
pation rates drop among all anglers, our natu- 
ral resources are losing the strongest advocates 
they have. As a group, anglers stand up for the 
things they love. 

Future Advocates 

The Kenston Forest club fishes nearly every 
Monday afi:er school on an eight-acre pond 
located on the school's campus, but they also 
hold indoor meetings to discuss fishing, fish 
biology, and natural resource conservation is- 
sues. That's exactly why these and other fish- 
ing-specific clubs are so important. Angler 

numbers are gradually declining in Virginia 
and throughout the country. And with that 
decline comes the loss of advocates for fish 
habitat and other aquatic resources. 

"The more kids we can get interested in 
fishing, the more voices we will have in the fu- 
ture for conservation, even if they don't fish 
later in life," says McGhee. 

But don't tell that to Zach Francis, at least 
not yet. He probably doesn't know how im- 
portant he is to the future of fishing. Most 
kids his age just want to have fun, and a day on 
the water offers a respite from the daily grind 
of school, chores, and other mundane activi- 
ties. But some day, he and the other members 
of Southwest Virginia Junior Anglers, along 
with young men and women who belong to 
the Student Angler Federation, will be leaders 
in conservation efforts all over the state. 

Right now, however, Zach is thinking 
about the road to the next Junior World 
Championship. He loves all kinds of fishing, 
but he also enjoys the camaraderie that sur- 
rounds tournament fishing and the competi- 
tion that goes along with it. Not only did he 
get to spend two days on DeGray Lake in 
Arkansas, he got to mingle with some of the 
country's top professional anglers who were 
on hand to assist in the tournament. He also 
earned a $500 scholarship for placing fifth 
overall in the II to 14 age group. 

Zach doesn't fish for money, though. 
There is no money awarded in youth tourna- 
ments in Virginia. He does it because he has a 
competitive streak in him and, he admits, he 
likes to win. Most of all, though, belonging to 
a fishing club gives Zach more opportunities 
to do the things he loves: fishing and hanging 
out with other boys and girls who share his 
passion. ?f 

David Hart is a full-time freelance writer and 
photographer from Rice. He is a regular contributor 
to numerous national hunting and fishing 


♦ Virginia Bass Federation, 
Junior Angler Program 
Youth Director Jerry Wright, 
(434) 594-6436 

♦ Student Angler Federation, 
Or call The Bass Federation 
headquarters, (580) 765-9031 



^: . • K^ 


\V y. 

-4g;i^^ -^^j^r 







Jim Kelly likes to hike. Elliot Knob, 
Yosemite Valleys Panorama Trail, the 
Wicklow Way in Ireland; like pebbles in 
a boot, each demands his attention. A 
hiker in a family of hikers, it's what's be- 
yond the tree line, what's at the top, what's down 
the next trail that shadows his periphery, that 
plucks at his senses. When family and friends get 
together it always comes around to the moun- 
tains, who's been where, what happened. But 
tellers beware: Old stories never die. They hang 
around to haunt you, fair or not. Friends say Jim 
Kelly has the look, as well as the luck, of the Irish, 
with that red hair, that smile, that Irish wit. It's a 
lucky man, all agree, who can go off into the 
mountains and return without a scratch. 

"Luck, " Kelly maintains, "has nothing to do 
with it. Just follow well-marked trails and plan 
and pack for emergencies." Still, mistakes are 

story & photos by Gail Brown 

made. A lifetime of hiking is a long time to go 
unscathed, the law of averages being what it is. 
But be it math or magic, it all caught up with 
Kelly one sparkling fall afternoon when he and 
son Jake were hiking Maine's Penobscot Moun- 
tain. And hindsight being what it is, it took no 
time at all to reconstruct the trail of events that 
caught up with him that day. By then, of course, 
it was too late. 

Kelly is right about planning and supplies. 
"Planning and preparation make the difference 
when out hiking for days or even a few hours," 
says William (Billy) Chrimes, search and rescue 
training specialist for the Virginia Department 
of Emergency Management. "Of the 100-1 10 
or so Search and Rescue (SAR) operations per- 
formed at the state level, about ten percent in- 
volve hikers. Of that ten percent, most are 
day-hikers that made a spontaneous decision to 

MAY 2012 ♦ 13 

'just go for a hike' and probably did not plan. 
They may not have known the area. People can 
wander off a marked trail onto a trail that looks 
equally worn, thinking it's a shortcut when it's 
just an unmarked path. They get lost." 

Karen Beck-Herzog, experienced hiker 
and Shenandoah National Park public affairs 
officer, agrees: "Day-hikers may not have all the 
information needed about the trails... You 
need a map and should also consult a trail 
guide... Trail guides offer descriptions and 
helpful information you won't find on a map. " 
In 20 1 1 , 68 percent of the SAR incidents in the 
park involved day-hikers. 

Beck-Herzog also believes good planning 
includes what you leave behind. "Most impor- 
tantly, leave an itinerary and stick to it. Then, if 
something happens, people will know where to 
look. Do not continue to move. Searchers will 
start at the Point Last Seen (PLS). By not mov- 
ing, you can keep the search area minimal." 

But Kelly's mistake wasn't one of inexperi- 
ence or lack of preparation. His wife, Maureen, 
knew what time he and Jake left and where they 
were hiking. Kelly did his homework, as usual, 
which included consulting guide books and 
printing off maps from sites such as Kelly had hiked this 
trail in the past and knew the entire trip was 5.6 
miles. It was not a difficult hike, more like a 
long walk, but on this day it was spontaneous. 
He and Jake expected it to take approximately 
four hours. Off they went. 

Karen Holson, the Department's outdoor 
education supervisor, has a simple 
list to keep hikers safe even if 
out for just a few hours. 

Holson's list includes: one large, clear trash 
bag, a piece of aluminum foil, a fire-starting 
tool, a whistle, water, and high energy bars. 
"My main requirement before it goes in my 
pack," states Holson, "is that it be lightweight 
and multifunctional. If the trash bag is clear, it 
can be placed over a green plant during day- 
light hours. When condensation occurs, 
water can be collected. A trash bag can serve as 
a ground cover, a sleeping bag, or a raincoat. 
To start a fire I carry a magnesium fire starter 
and a piece of metal. Fire offers warmth and 
can serve as a signal. The piece of foil can be a 
cup or a reflector (signal). People might think 
they don't need a whistle, but you'll be able to 
blow the whistle longer and louder than you 
can shout." Holson always has first-aid sup- 
plies on hand. 

Kelly has all that and more. "My pack 
typically weighs about 15-20 lbs., but I don't 
mind the extra weight. I have extra clothing 
and a small first-aid kit attached to my cam- 
era, as well as a fiill one in my pack. My father 
started me hiking when I was a very young 
child. He taught me to be prepared. This was 
the first, and last, time I took a chance." 

If what you carry with you is important, 
what you wear is equally important, according 
to Holson. "Your feet are your transportation. 
Some people think they can double up on 
socks to stay warm. What happens is their feet 
become cramped, their circulation is cut off, 
and then their feet become cold. Insulated 
boots are a must for colder weather. Holson 
also recommends ffiree layers of quality cloth- 
ing: a base layer (wicking in the summer, ther- 
mal in cooler weather); a middle layer of wool 

Karen Holson likes to keep it simple. Things 
that make it into her pack are lightweight and 

or wool blends in cooler weather; and an outer 
layer of waterproof material such as Gore-Tex or 
a windbreaker." 

Roy Hutchinson, co-founder of Wilder- 
ness Discovery and volunteer instructor for the 
Department, believes people might be tempted 
to cut corners, thinking the cost of supplies 
might be prohibitive. "Sometimes people say 
they can't afford what it takes to ouffit a pack. 
You have to ask yourself: 'What's your life 
worth? Is it worth $40?' You can get all you need 
to stay safe at a discount store for about $40. 
And your pack won't weigh more than 5 lbs." 

SAR teams look for possible decision points such as creek or trail crossings. 
Pictured here, K9 Alert member David Fleenor and Ryka. 

Park ranger Caroline Garmon (Pocahontas State Park) advises visitors 
to "take a minute to obtain information about your hike." 



For a day hike, everything you need can fit into a pack weighing about 5 lbs. New signs at Pocahontas SP 
(right) detail trail use and difficulty. Black diamond indicates most difficult level; blue square is moderate. 

If not the weather, access to supplies, or 
knowledge of what to bring caused Kelly's prob- 
lem, then what? "I think experienced hikers can 
become over-confident. That was my mistake; I 
was over-confident. I had never had a problem, 
so I took a chance. It seemed like such a short 
hike, I just left my pack in the cabin. All I took 
was two botdes of water." 

While Kelly was over-confident, his situa- 
tion was compounded by signage open to mis- 
interpretation. "The signpost at the summit of 
Penobscot Mountain said: Jordan Pond Cliffs 
Trail -1.5 miles. The sign pointed to a trail. The 
trail looked equally gradual and was also 
marked. The trail we just came off was 2.8 
miles." Both he and his son saw an opportunity 
to shorten their return hike by over 1 mile. "But 
Jordan Pond Cliffs Trail didn't start at the sum- 
mit of Penobscot as we thought. And it wasn't 
1 .5 miles long. It started 1 .5 miles further on." 

"In Search and Rescue situations we call 
that a 'decision point, " explains David Fleenor, 
president of K-9 Alert Search and Rescue, Inc. 
"A decision was made that took the person into 
an unexpected situation. Depending on the 'lost 
person behavior' profile, we will use these deci- 
sion points as targets for 'hasty' or area searches." 

"When I had the accident we had done 
about 1 mile of the actual cliff trail," says Kelly, 
"and we had about another 2.5 miles to go to get 
down to the road that we hoped to reach faster 
It was a much more difficult trail. At times we 
were hugging the cliff. Then we came to a slab of 

stone which blocked the trail; it must have been 
8 feet straight up. Jake went over the top. I put 
my left foot in a crack to boost myself up, but 
slipped. I kept sliding... farther and farther 
down the embankment. . . until I slammed into a 
small cedar. It held. That saved me, but I was re- 
ally banged up. I got a deep gash in my knee. 
With Jake's help I got myself over the rock. We 
had over 2 miles of rugged terrain to go and I was 
bleeding a lot. I had no way to help myself " 

As Kelly rested on a rock, dismay deepen- 
ing, three hikers they'd just passed came rushing 
back toward them; like Jake, they'd heard the se- 
ries of expletives he'd let loose when he started to 
slide. As luck would have it, these weren't ordi- 
nary hikers. These hikers were nurses! All three! 
Nurses with bright blue vet wrap! Nurses with 
skills! Nurses who would bandage him up so he 
could make it back down the mountain. 

It was a long, painful, two miles back to the 
restaurant and a longer night still at the hospital. 
"The wound was deep and jagged and required 
at least a dozen stitches," says wife Maureen. 
"That's the one hike he'd like to forget. But things 
could have been so much worse. " 

Forget? Not likely. When family and friends 
gather — stories, camaraderie, a Guinness or 
two — Kelly never brings it up. His friends do. It 
seems there's consensus: "Ah, that Jim Kelly," 
they say, "Sure, it's a lucky man, that Jim Kelly 
is." ?f 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school administrator. 




CCC Museum I 

2.06 mi. 


by Randall Shank 





is still going strong 

after 20 years 

of service. 

I wait in a duck blind on a cold, misty 
January dawn on die Pamunkey River 
marsh known as "the pocket." The 
wind rushes by like the giant swish of a broom 
moving across the brown grasses as a flock of 
mallards fly upriver. The chirp of a chickadee 
catches my attention when it hops from one 
branch to another looking for shadbush 
catkins. A turkey yelps from its roost on the 
hill across the creek. In the woods behind me, 
an owl calls into the morning as if to an- 
nounce that the night is over. 

The morning symphony continues with 
three bald eagles entering the chorus, "Kee, 
kee, kee." Hundreds of pintails glide in the air 
from one side of the marsh to the other, 
flushed from their roost by the eagles. The sun 
peers over the horizon and more than a thou- 
sand Canada geese erupt from the water and 
fly to the cornfields to feed. The noise of the 
geese is so deafening that nothing else can be 
heard. When they are gone, a lone beaver 

comes down the creek, sees me, and slaps its tail 
against the water — putting an end to the 
morning concert with a loud exclamation 

With spring, the rivers change. Winter 
waterfowl have returned north and new visitors 
arrive. Old-timers say that when the shadbush 
is in bloom and redbud is in fioll color, the Pa- 
munkey and her sister river, the Mattaponi, fill 
with migrating striped bass, shad, and herring. 

The Pamunkey and Mattaponi Indians 
have always known this and they support the 
shad fishery with hatcheries on both reserva- 
tions. Likewise, the Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and U.S. Fish and 
Wildife hatcheries have over the years stocked 
millions of American shad fiy to the Pamunkey 

In summer, water lovers from urban Rich- 
mond come to paddle, fish, water-ski, swim, or 
just hang out. The water in the Mattaponi 
River is so clean that more than one locality has 



^-> J:i 

had their eye on it for a drinking water source. 
DGIF recognized the importance of the river 
when they recently purchased over 2,500 
acres on the upper Mattaponi in Caroline 
County for the newly created Mattaponi 
Wildlife Management Area. Here, the river is 
so protected with forested lands that when it 
rains, vegetation catches the runoff and the 
river remains mosdy clear. 

The Mattaponi and Pamunkey, in fact, 
are two of the cleanest tidal rivers on the East 
Coast. A local river conservation organization 
would like to keep it that way. 

A Little History 

In 1991 , a small group of people gathered at 
the invitation of Jerry Walker and the late 
Billy Mills in the village of Walkerton on the 
Mattaponi. Development pressures were 
mounting in the watershed, and the group 
knew the rivers needed a voice. They formed 
the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Associa- 
tion (MPRA). 

Grain farms along the rivers are important habitat for migrating Canada geese and offer many 
hunting opportunities. Duck blinds and stands of wild rice are common sights on a river paddle, 
photo ©Randall Shank 


This June, MPRA celebrates its twenty- 
first anniversary as a river protection group 
that has become a leading, local advocate for 
its namesake rivers. MPRA is an all-volunteer 
organization that focuses on education, recre- 
ation, habitat protection, and advocacy to 
raise the public's awareness of the importance 
and value of the rivers. At its annual meeting 
in January, over 70 people gathered to social- 
ize, share dinner, and support river projects. 
The rivers remain the common bond be- 
tween teachers, students, retirees, farmers, 
hunters, fishermen, kayakers, riparian land- 
owners, and others who were there. 

When we walked through the door, I 
had just come from a Mattaponi goose hunt. 
People were sharing pictures of recently 
caught bass, catfish, and rockfish. Stories 
about duck hunting and the last river sojourn 
were circulated. One of the kids came up to 
me and gushed, "Guess what I got for Christ- 
mas! A kayak!" There was a shared passion, a 
sense of place, a feeling of belonging in that 
room. A good friend who recently moved 
closer to town and away from her riverfront 
home told me that night, "I really miss the 
Canada geese. I can't hear the geese." 

And that is what MPRA is all about. It's 
about loving something bigger than yourself 
and doing something for it because you care 
about it. If you love something, you are going 
to protect it. 

River Camp is an opportunity for i<ids of all ages to get in the outdoor classroom on the river. 

Knee-deep Education 

MPRA believes that catching a fish, gazing at 
a huge bald eagle nest, or standing knee-deep 
in wetland mud connects the person with the 
resource. And so, each autumn MPRA brings 
environmental science and watershed educa- 
tion to area sixth graders during "River Day" 
at Sandy Point State Forest on the Mattaponi. 
In one of the classes, local historical inter- 
preter Willie Balderson transforms into a 
member of Captain John Smith's crew 

camped on the river shore. Describing the 
students' reactions to his role, Balderson says, 
"While in the natural world, students reach a 
state of suspended disbelief which takes them 
back in time to the way it once was." In many 
ways, the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey are 
the way they once were. 

Because today's kids appear glued to 
computers and smart phones, a day away 
from the noises and distractions of the mod- 
ern world becomes ever more important. At 
River Day, a middle school student spent part 

DGIF stocking truck, King & Queen hatchery, 
makes an educational visit to River Day. 

River Camp participants and volunteers. 

18 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 

An MPRA-led river sojourn is a great way to learn more about the rivers and meet people who care about them. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Henicheck 

of the time in the shallow waters catching 
hogchokers and minnows in a seine net. He 
exclaimed, "This is the best field trip ever! We 
actually spent the day in the field!" 

Another student carried a squirrel skull 
that he found underneath a bald eagle nest. 
He was going to take it home to show his 
family. A young girl yelled, "I caught a fish!" 
It was her first one ever. 

Setting a Stewardship Example 

Volunteers support wildlife conservation by 
helping with the annual Audubon bird 
count at several river locations. Boy Scouts 
and school groups build and install wood 
duck and prothonotary warbler nesting 
boxes on lands held by cooperating riparian 

"We have put up more than one hun- 
dred bird nesting boxes in wetland areas on 
the two rivers since the program started," vol- 
unteer Brad Davis reported. 

With a twenty-year history of commu- 
nity mobilization for "River Stewardship 
Day," the group's signature event, hundreds 
of MPRA volunteers gather annually to walk 
the shorelines or travel by boat to pick up 
trash. Kitty Cox, coordinator for the event, 
estimates that more than 2,000 volunteers 
have participated over the years. 

"This project has been so effective, it's 
now difficult to find trash or dump sites on 
the rivers. Crews really have to work at it. " On 
average each year, more than 30 local busi- 
nesses help sponsor and support the clean-up. 

Defending a river means taking a stand 
when resources are being threatened. MPRA 
volunteers have appeared at numerous public 
hearings when adverse impacts on either river 
appear imminent. The group is currently ex- 
ploring ways to gain a nomination for scenic 
rivers designation on the Mattaponi between 
Walkerton and the Mattaponi Indian Reser- 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Virginia's population wiO grow. Fish and 
game habitat will shrink. Other challenges 
will come along. 

Who speaks for the rivers when man de- 
bates their value? For the past 20 years, 
MPRA has been a strong voice in the York 
River watershed. Today's young people will 
be the voice of tomorrow for the rivers. The 
Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Associa- 
tion is working to make that happen. ?f 

Randall Shank is a freelance writer who lives on the 
Mattaponi River in King & Queen County. 


Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers 

Scenic Rivers Program, 

Va. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation 


MAY 2012 ♦ 19 

How Farmland 
Preservation Can Help 
^ildlife Thrive 

Virginias pastoral landscape and 
farming heritage has been cele- 
brated for over four hundred 
years, but the eventual triumph of agriculture in 
the New World was not always a sure thing. 


The corporate-financed entrepreneurs, 
roustabouts, and gendemen of leisure who in 
May of 1606 waded ashore on what would 
become Jamestown were hardly versed in the 
intricacies of coaxing a living fi'om the soil. 


■* f-'i.;' 

had thoroughly settled much of the sur- 
rounding region's higher ground with small 
farm plots. 

As bearers of exotic metal tools, glass- 
ware, and fabrics, the Europeans were wel- 
comed by the Powhatan with prolific feasts 
and entertainments; their wily leader, 
Wahunsenacawh, had plans to utilize the 
foreigners' superior technologies in his ongo- 
ing power struggles against neighboring Al- 
gonquin tribes. Baskets of precious maize, 
freely given to the colonists, were heaped up 
in makeshift granaries; fresh meat and fish 
were abundantly shared; and overcrowded 
England seemed comfortably far away. 

All looked promising to the settlers as 
the planting season gave way to late summer, 
but the thought apparendy never occurred to 
these foolhardy urbanites that the free food 
they enjoyed — the result of others' hard 
work in field and forest — ^was not a perma- 
nent tribute but rather a calculated, short- 
term diplomatic offering. When stores 
began to run low, the English simply took 
what they desired from surrounding 
Powhatan villages and farms, leading in due 
time to violent resistance and a brief war that 
was to end only with the capture in 
1613 of Powhatan's daughter, 
the celebrated peacemaker 

and particularly not the pestilential swamp- 
lands of the lower James River. The island 
chosen as a defensible setdement had marshy 
soils and brackish water and, tellingly, was un- 
inhabited by the local Powhatan peoples, who 

The days turned colder and the bleak re- 
ality of their situation became apparent to 
even the most fervent among them. Malnu- 
trition weakened immune systems unaccus- 
tomed to American pathogens, and the 
primitive settlement's burying grounds began 
to fill. The settlers had been unwilling to learn 
local methods of growing food in the meager 
soil they'd claimed for themselves and now it 
was too late. They expired one by one, in the 
worst of circumstances, until in the spring of 
1610 reinforcements from England found 
only 50 of the 600 colonists still living, the 
survivors later recalling that dreadful winter as 
"the starving time." 

©Spike Knuth 

Farms play an important role in Virginia's economy while offering essential habitat to upland birds 
and movement corridors to game animals. 

A complete lack of preparation for the 
foreseeable challenges that would face them 
coupled with a short-sighted belligerence that 
tragically alienated their only source of suste- 
nance conspired to nearly wipe out the colony 
before it could become established, but it was 
the absence of a working knowledge of agri- 
culture, the only means by which the new- 
comers could have achieved a sustainable 
independence, that most nearly doomed the 
expedition. Not until reinforcements arrived 
from England that summer did Jamestown 
again become viable, and with the introduc- 
tion of new strains of exportable tobacco that 
took readily to the colony's reinstituted farm- 
land, the European presence in North Ameri- 
ca became assured. 

Today its remaining farms and forest- 
lands still play an essential role in how Vir- 
ginia sees itself. Agriculture provides a 
substantial percentage of the commonwealth's 
economic output: In a study by the University 
of Virginia, farming and forestry-related in- 
dustries contributed almost $79 billion to the 
state's economy in 2006 and provided 
501,500 jobs, or 10.3 percent, of total state 
employment. According to the state Depart- 
ment of Environmental Quality, farms cover 
24 percent of Virginias total land area, while 
an impressive 65 percent of the state remains 
forested with roughly 85 percent of Virginias 
forestland under private ownership. It is 
therefore the farmer and the private forest 
owner that together control the future of both 

By voluntarily donating easements, 
landowners permanently relinquish the right 
to intensively develop their property in order 
to protect conservation values such as agricul- 
ture, forestry, and wildlife habitat. "We're 
pleased to work with localities interested in 
preserving their working farm and forest- 
land," says Kevin Schmidt, Office of Farm- 
land Preservation coordinator at the Virginia 
Department of Agriculture and Consumer 
Services. "In addition to the economic bene- 
fits associated with i^ricultural and forestal 
use, these farms and forests provide impor- 
tant wildlife habitat, open space, and other 
conservation values to communities across 

In recognition of this. Governor Bob 
McDonnell has renewed his pledge to con- 
serve farmland across the state. In early 2012, 
he announced another $1.2 million in grant 
fiinds available for purchasing development 
rights, in order to protect farm acreage. 

"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen 

people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, 

whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit 

for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the 

focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, 

which otherwise might escape fom the face of 

the earth. " -n t n- 

— 1 nomas Jerrerson, 

Notes on the State of Virginia ( 1 78 1 ) 

Virginia's wildlife habitat and its storied agri- 
cultural industry. 

Many rural landowners are seeking an 
affordable way to retain their open spaces. 
Residential and commercial development are 
gobbling up farms and eradicating isolated 
pockets of woodland while larger forest tracts 
are being broken up by roads and more sub- 
urban growth. The agricultural and timber 
industries stand to permanently lose thou- 
sands of productive acres to land conversion, 
while the ecological integrity of our remain- 
ing farms and forests is of crucial concern to 
the health of the state's wildlife. 

Fortunately for all of us — ^wildlife in- 
cluded — Virginians looking to protect their 
farmland, forests, and other open spaces have 
a proven method which rewards landowners 
who choose to keep their property intact and 
undeveloped. Generous tax incentives are 
available to those wishing to permanently 
protect their land from inappropriate devel- 
opment with a conservation easement. 

Tim Brown surveys his farm in Accomack Co 

Two Virginia Landowners 
Balancing Farming and Wildlife 

Tim Brown farms corn and soybeans on 637 
acres in Accomack County. Several years ago. 
Brown, an avid wildlife observer and duck 
hunter, took advantage of a cost-share pro- 
gram from Ducks Unlimited (DU) to install 
dams and dikes on the property in order to 
seasonally flood 30 acres of marginal farm- 
land to attract waterfowl. Today the farm 
plays host to numerous species of duck, wad- 
ing birds like egrets and ibises, migratory 
shorebirds, and raptors. 

The Eastern Shore is known for its 
marshy landscapes, and while the soil is often 
fertile, some areas drain poorly — which can 
result in lost crops after heavy rains. This, 
however, was an ideal situation for a farmer- 
conservationist like Brown, who simply tar- 


Brown seasonally floods about 30 acres of low 
lying land, creating waterfowl habitat. 

A controlled burn on the Shobe farm in Rockbridge County will rejuvenate forestland and create 
good habitat for a host of wildlife species. 

geted those areas of standing water and peren- 
nial flooding for wetlands restoration. "I get a 
great deal of personal pleasure from the habitat 
management steps we've taken here," says 
Brown, "and I'll go out and watch the ducks 
come in at dusk two or three times a week. The 
wedands are almost a sanctuary to me. " 

By leveraging funds from both public 
and private sources via DU's cost-share and 
the USDA's Conservation Reser\'e Program, 
Brown has partially recouped the financial loss 
of 30 acres of (albeit marginal) cropland. A 
ftirther cost-saver was his decision to place the 
property under a conservation easement held 
jointly by DU and the Virginia Eastern Shore 
Land Trust, which provided state and federal 
income tax benefits. 

Tim Brown's contribution to the coast's 
wildlife doesn't stop with his waterfowl im- 
poundments. Warm-season native grasses 
planted along the borders of his fields filter 
water headed for the adjacent Chesapeake Bay 
of fenilizers that cause harmfiJ algal blooms, 
and his ongoing wetlands restoradon benefits 
everything from blue crabs to bald eagles. 
Carefiil planning and the advice of experts has 
allowed Brown to integrate profitable farming 
with his love of wildlife — income for the soul. 

At the opposite end of the state, Eric 
Shobe and his family own a catde-and-timber 
farm near Goshen in western Rockbridge 
County composed of 500 acres of upland pas- 
ture and 1 ,000 acres of mixed hardwood for- 
est. Waterways flowing into the Little 

Calfpasture River are home to rare native 
brook trout. Deer, wild turkey, and bear are 
plentifiJ, and rirffed grouse — a scarce species 
in many parts of its native range — are being 
encouraged with clearings planted with apple 
and pear trees. 

The property was largely a climax forest 
when he acquired it, Shobe says, and was 
heavily overpopulated with deer, whose for- 
aging appetites were observable in a stark 
"browse line' of about five feet from the 
ground, beneath which no undergrowTh of 
leafy branch went uneaten. Active manage- 
ment began by thinning the deer with aggres- 
sive hunting, which gave the forest floor a 
chance to recover some greenery. 

More intensive steps were needed, so 
Shobe called in the Virginia Forestry & 
Wildlife Group, a land management service 
based in Afton that provides a palette of op- 
tions for landowners seeking to enhance their 
properties' habitat qualit}'. The company's 
Brian Morse, a wildlife biologist, assessed 
Shobe's farm and instigated a number of 
landscape improvements, including con- 
trolled burns, small clearcuts, and food plots. 
Even American chestnut trees, wiped out 
decades ago by an alien blight, are being rein- 
troduced as saplings to their former habitat 
after years of careful selective breeding. 

"Too often it seems like it's one or the 
other," Shobe says about farming and habitat 
retention. "We've struck a nice balance here 
raising catde and wildlife, and I think what 

we've done has benefited both." Happily for 
Eric Shobe and his neighbors, these benefits 
will continue in perpetuity; the Shobe farm is 
protected by a conservation easement held by 
the Virginia Outdoors Foimdation. 

Today, a rapidly changing common- 
wealth faces an escalating destruction of its 
agricultural heritage, but innovanve farmers 
and foresters are incorporating habitat protec- 
tion and enhancement into their land use 
plans to retain an important component of 
their properties. Whether you hunt and fish 
yourself you're interested in leasing these 
rights out to others, or you simply find solace 
in the rejuvenating effects of observing 
wildlife for its own sake, making positive con- 
tributions to the wildlife habitat on your farm 
will have real and lasting benefits to you and 
your legacy. ?f 

William H. Funk ( is a 
writer and filmmaker based in Staunton. 


Farmland Preservation Program, 
Virginia Agriculture & Consumer 

Office of Land Conservation, 
Virginia Department of Conservation 
and Recreation 

MAY 2012 

©Spike Knuth 













\ '■ «. 

-^>.. ., 






Craig County s 


Young Outdoorsman 

by Bruce Ingram 

Those of us who enjoy the outdoors 
have long known how therapeutic 
spending time afield can be. For 1 2- 
year-old Jake Bostic of Craig County, his 
time outdoors has not only been mentally 
restorative but also physically life sustaining. 
A backstory is now required. When 
Jake was six, he was diagnosed with Crohn's 
Disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) 
that has made him ill and even hospitalized 
him at times. His mother, Sue, has a simple 
answer concerning what her sons motiva- 
tion is to overcome this affliction. 

"The outdoors," she said. "The doctors 
have used Jake many times as an example of 
'if there is a will there is a way' In order to 
keep going, Jake puts in a nasogastric tube at 
night to feed himself 1 ,250 calories. His dis- 
ease keeps him from maintaining weight 

"Jake goes to the hospital to help other 
kids who have the same disease and gives 
them encouragement. Jake will do anything 
to keep hunting and fishing. There have 
been times we were at a crossroads with Jake 
and all the doctor had to say was, 'If you do 
this you will be ready for hunting or fishing' 
whatever season was in at the time he was 
sick. Teachers, doctors, and our family give 
complete credit for Jake's current remission 
to God and the outdoors." 

Jake's physician is Dr. Michael H. 
Hart, professor of pediatrics at Carillion in 


"Jake is truly an exceptional young man," 
Hart said. "When I first saw him as a patient 
he was unable to walk from the severity of his 
joint involvement with his inflammatory 
bowel disease, one of the complications of 
IBD. Jake has tolerated very potent medica- 
tions, while never complaining. He has 
learned to place a nighdy nasogastric feeding 
tube to maintain excellent overall nutrition, 
which has helped us withdraw virtually all of 
his medicines while maintaining an excellent 
quality of life. 

"With their willingness to talk with other 
youngsters with similar diseases, Jake's family 
has been a support to my patients. Jake has 
thrived due to his willingness to commit to his 
therapy and whatever it takes to get better... 
He is an exceptional student and his future is 
very bright. I hope he'll choose to go into a 
medical field, as I know he'd be a great doctor 

Dr. Hart's comments about Jake's school 
accomplishments were echoed by Scott 
Critzer, director of testing for Craig County 
Public Schools. Critzer said that the young 
man was the county's first elementary student 
to make /)^i^rt scores on all of his Standards of 
Learning (SOL) tests. 

"This young man has a fantastic work 
ethic," Critzer said. "His ability to overcome 
his disorder makes him, I believe, a role model 
for the other students." 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Jake Bostic with a fine Craig County 8-polnter that he harvested at age 8. Left, Jenna, 
Sue, and Jake hunt squirrels. 

Once I learned about Jake's history, I 
arranged to meet and go squirrel hunting with 
this young outdoorsman who makes straight 
As in school and shows market lambs at com- 
petitions across the state as his summer 4-H 
livestock project; a young man who killed his 
first squirrel at age 6, who harvested an 8-point 
buck at age 8, and who ta^ed a 1 0-pointer at 
age 1 0. Given his taking of an 8-pointer and 
1 0-pointer on even number years, the young- 
ster had hoped to take a 1 2-pointer this past 
season. It was not to be, however, although 
Jake did manage to harvest six whitetails. 

First, I asked him what he would like to 
say to other young people who sufiir from 
Crohn's Disease or other disabilities. 

"The message 1 would like to give them is 
to have something as their motivation so they 
can fight what is bothering them, " he told me. 
"I like to share with other kids how much I 
love to go fishing and hunting. That I live to be 
outdoors, and I will do anything the doctors 

tell me so that I can go outside. The outdoors 
is the best thing there is. 

"But the other kids don't have to love the 
outdoors like I do to get better They just have 
to have something as a goal, I tell them. I tell 
them they can beat their disease like I'm beat- 
ing mine." 

Jake then told of how Dr. Hart asked 
him to go visit a hospitalized Martinsville boy 
who likewise suffered from an IBD and who 
was feeling squeamish about inserting his 
feeding tube. Jake did so, put his own feeding 
tube in as the boy watched, and then proceed- 
ed to tell him about some of his recent out- 
door adventures. 

Another assignment from Dr. Hart was 
to have Jake and his family dine at a restaurant 
with a Roanoke girl who likewise needed a 
feeding tube. He encouraged her to insert the 
tube herself, because her mother had been 
doing it for her, and explained how the young 
lady could develop self-reliance and become 
more independent by doing so. 

Of course, Jake has had plenty of oppor- 
tunities for self-motivation. 

"When I was 9, I was sick during late 
summer," he recalled. "Once, I had to leave 
the feeding tube in for three weeks, I just 
couldn't gain any weight. But I just had to get 
healthy because deer season was about to 

begin. But I kept trying to do what the doctor 
told me to do, and I got well enough to kill a 

"Another time, I felt like I was going 
downhill and losing weight and just couldn't 
seem to get better. But it was spring gobbler 
season, and 1 had to kill a turkey. I finally killed 
a big gobbler but had to go into the hospital the 
next day. I didn't want to stay in the hospital be- 
cause I was afraid I would miss the SOL tests. 

"So I worked hard in the hospital to do 
what the doctors said, I got better, and the 
school said I could take my SOL tests late. I 
made a perfect 600 score on all of them." 

On the squirrel himting expedition, Jake, 
his mom, and I hunted on one section of the 
property, while his dad and sister Jenna pur- 
sued squirrels on the other side. The day was 
windy and cold and Jake wasn't able to shoot 
any silvertails. I invited him to come back on 
another day, and he told me that he would do 
better the next time because he now knew "the 
lay of the land." 

1 expect Jake to conquer those bushytails 
the next time he visits, just like I expect him to 
overcome any adversity he meets in life — 
thanks to his passion for the outdoors. ?f 

Bruce Ingram writes a weekly outdoors hlogand 
also has four river smallmouth books for sale at 
www. bruceingramoutdoon. com. 

MAY 2012 ♦ 25 



tctk Hater 

Virff-nia Fishing Guide 

by Bob Gooch. Updated by M.W. Smith 

2011 University of Virginia Press 

Soft cover. $19.95 

Black and white photos. Maps. 


(434) 982-2932 

"A book that should be on the car seat of every 
Virginia angler. " 

- Richmond Times-Dispatch 

This handy guide was originally published in 
1988. But how times have changed in terms 
of the various resources available to anglers in 
our commonwealth. With the advent of the 
Internet, and with changes in certain regula- 
tions, the editors at University of Virginia 
Press saw that a new, updated version of this 
straightforward, no-frills outdoor classic was 
in order. 

Author Bob Gooch died in 2006, so it 
was up to M.W. Smith, professor of English 
and proprietor of Greasy Creek Outfitters to 
rise to the occasion. This fresh edition con- 
tains a quick reference preface so that anglers 
can review at a glance the major changes and 
additions that impact both saltwater and 
freshwater fishing. Changes include 'catch 
and release only' designations, stocking 
schedules for trout streams, and changes to 
laws and regulations. The book has also been 
given a facelift with the addition of new pho- 
tographs and maps. 

Especially helpfiil are up-to-the-minute 
appendices that present Virginia anglers with 
a wealth of angling- related resources such as: 
government agencies, publications and map 
sources, fee-based private trout waters, fish- 
ing guides, charter boat rentals, and fishing 
piers. This is a must-have volume for Virginia 
anglers, who, in light of the current economic 
climate, may be casting their hooks a bit clos- 
er to home. 

Northern Pinesnake Watch 

You can help conserve and protect the Northern pinesnake! The Virginia 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries would like your assistance in re- 
porting current, past, live or dead pinesnake observations. If you have seen 
a pinesnake or know of a past observation in the state, please fill out the 
form below and send it to the address provided. Your personal information 
will remain confidential. Thank you for helping us protect a natural rarity! 
Please include the following information in your observation: 

Date observed: 

Observation location (be as specific as possible): . 

County or City/Town: 

Snake activity: moving resting dead other (explain) 

Additional comments: 

The below information will be used for confirmation purposes only. 




Zip Code: 

Daytime phone number: 

Additional information, such as photographs and/or location maps, is wel- 
come and should be included when possible. Send the completed form to 
Mike Pinder, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 2206 South 
Main Street, Suite C, Blacksburg, VA 24060. 

You can also respond via our Web link, at: 


Society Events 

May 18-20: Annual Spring Survey & 
Meeting, Shenandoah River Stare Park 

June 23-24: Annual "HerpBlitz" Survey, 
Mattaponi Wildlife Managemenr Area 

August 18: 1-Day Survey Event, C,2\&Aon 
Natural Area State Park 

More information at: 
20 1 2-events/20 1 2-vhs-events/index.htm 


Congratulations go to Diane and Johnny 
Hottle of Criders for their lovely portrait of 
a piebald white-tailed deer. The Hottles said 
that they first saw the deer as a fawn visiting 
the apple tree outside their sunroom. 
Appearing out of nowhere the fawn became 
known as "Casper," and visited regularly. 
The Hottles used a Minolta SRT 100 35mm 
SLR camera, 135mm lens, and Fuji 400 ISO 
film. Great shot, you guys!! I 

You are invited to submit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Rich- 
mond, VA 23230-1104. Send original 
slides, super high-quality prints, or high- 
res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and in- 
clude a self-addressed, stamped envelope 
or other shipping method for return. 
Also, please include any pertinent infor- 
mation regarding how and where you 
captured the image and what camera and 
settings you used, along with your phone 
number. We look forward to seeing and 
sharing your work with our readers. 

Coming This July! 

Change is a part of life, and that's certainly true of the 

publishing world these days. So you will probably not 

be surprised to learn that this magazine will 

undergo some changes soon. 

Beginning this July, Virginia Wildlife will become a bi-nnonthlv magazine. 
We will add more pages, more content, and more special features— as 
we move to six Issues a year: July-August, September-October, November-De- 
cember, January-February, March-April, and May-June. This change means 
that, even in the face of increased production costs, Virginia Wildlife will main- 
tain its low subscription rate and remain free of advertising while giving you 
more of the stories and photography that you have asked for. Our goal is to 
make every issue bigger and better than ever! 

We will kick off the new format with a special feature about the history of 
the Pittman-Robertson Act, the legislative lynchpin in the foundation of all 
wildlife and sportfishing restoration programs across this country. The follow- 
ing issue will include a special hunting guide, running at the start of the fall 
seasons. Also coming to you next year will be a trout guide, a fishing forecast, 
and a special outdoors guide showcasing wildlife-related recreation opportu- 
nities and events. That guide will be combined with our annual photography 
contest, to be published in July-August 2013. (More details about the photo 
contest will be forthcoming; categories and deadline will change.) 

The magazine staff is excited about the new 
format and the opportunity to better serve our 
loyal subscribers who have supported the 
magazine over the past 
73 years. We ask for 
your patience as we 
move forward, and 
trust that the new 
and improved Virginia 
Wildlife will continue 
to find a spot by your 
favorite reading chair. 

3Si^ Annuar 

J, Naturalist Rally 

Komarock, VA ♦ May U-12, 2012 

White tai 

Spring = Time of Plenty c 

essay by 
Matt Knox 

In late winter as the days begin to length- 
en and temperatures begin to warm, the 
whitetail's world dramatically changes. 
In most areas, over the period of about a 
month a deer's routine will evolve from a day- 
to-day fight for survival to one of choosing 
from a nearly endless buffet of succulent, nu- 
tritious food. The animal itself is literally 
transformed; its metabolism and activity lev- 
els increase significantly and its coat molts 
from the highly insulating thick brown-gray 
coat of winter back to the much cooler, thin 
red coat of summer. 

In terms of selection, quality, and quan- 
tity, it will be the deer's best food season of the 
year. And with the spring green-up, a deer's 
primary objective becomes to consume as 
much high-quality forage as possible. 

All deer have high nutritional needs as 
they grow during the spring — especially the 
young, and pregnant does. Fetuses that have 
been growing since fall begin putting signifi- 
cant demands on the mother and grow very 
rapidly in the last trimester; bucks need ener- 
gy to grow antlers; all need energy to molt 
their coats. 

Most of the food consimied will be new 
herbaceous vegetation and forbs — perfect 
because it is more succulent, more palatable, 
and more easily digested. On average, a deer 
needs greater than or equal to 1 6 percent pro- 
tein in its spring diet. Luckily, much new 
spring vegetation exceeds 20 percent. Regret- 
tably, preferred foods at this time of year 
often include crops in agricultural fields and 
vegetable gardens, and ornamental plantings. 

Outside of the fall rut, a buck's life is 
pretty dull, and spring is no exception. Bucks, 
which re-formed all-male bachelor groups in 
mid- to late winter, remain in loose bachelor 

groups with size and membership routinely 
changing. But something big is beginning to 
happen. Spring is the season when bucks will 
begin to grow antlers. By early March, all 
hard antlers from the previous fall should 
have been shed or dropped. By April, new 
antlers begin to grow from the pedicels on 
most males. Male fawns which survived the 
winter and are still members of their female- 
dominated family group will begin growing 
their first antlers at about 1 to 1 1 months of 
age. By 1 8 months, they will have their first 
set of hard anders. 

The antler germinates from a special- 
ized tissue that is located on the top of the 
pedicel. When environmental conditions are 
right, the body sends signals to this tissue and 
the antler begins to grow. Injuries to the 
pedicel often result in multiple antlers, or 
antlers growing from strange locations and 

Antlers are true bone grown by male 


>-^< ; 


I «A 


id Birth of the Fawns 

members and are a defining characteristic of 
the deer family, Cervidae. (Only female rein- 
deer routinely grow anders, and these anders 
are generally pretty small.) Antlers are not 
horns. They differ from the horns of goats 
and sheep because they are made of true bone 
and because they are deciduous, or cast and 
completely re-grown every year. In some 
species, like bighorn sheep, a ram's age can be 
determined by the annual rings of horn 
growth. A buck's age cannot be determined 
by his anders. 

Antler growth is controlled by the pho- 
toperiod, or day length. By manipulating 
light, it is possible to make a deer grow several 
sets of antlers in a single year or one set of 
antlers over several years. With the pre- 
dictable change of seasons, nature makes one 
set of antlers per year. At the height of the 
antler growth in late spring or early summer, a 
deer's anders will be growing nearly one-half 
to more than one inch per day. 

As spring draws to an end, one of the 
biggest events in the whitetail's annual life 
cycle occurs — birth of the next generation. 
During the final month of spring, the fawns 
will be born. 

All of the effort that went into the rut 
back in the fall was designed to make sure 
that the majority of the does woidd be bred at 
about the same time (mid-November) so that 
the majority of fawns would hit the ground 
about 200 days later, at about the same time. 
In Virginia, this woidd be the first two weeks 
of June, when habitat conditions are most fa- 
vorable for the fawns and their mothers. This 
synchronized drop of fawns acts as a type of 
prey saturation, hopefully overwhelming 
predators and increasing the fawn's chance of 
survival during the first critical weeks of life. 
Good fawning areas or habitat are character- 
ized by good cover for hiding the young from 

Productivity in female deer is related to 

age and nutrition. When doe fawns breed in 
healthy deer herds and give birth at one year 
of age, they almost always give birth to a sin- 
gle fawn. Most does typically give birth at two 
years of age and can have one or two fawns. 
As does reach age three and older, given ade- 
quate nutrition, twin fawns become the 
norm and triplet fawns are not uncommon. 

A couple of days before giving birth, a 
doe will withdraw from her family group and 
select a fawning area that will be protected 
and defended from all other deer. Family 
group bonds will for several weeks to a month 
or more be completely erased. This area is 
where the fawn(s) will hide upon arrival. No 
other deer will be allowed to enter this area for 
several weeks. This isolation allows the doe to 
develop a strong bond with her young — a 
bond that is essential to the fawn surviving. 

Matt Knox is a deer project coordinator for the 
Department, serving south-central Virginia. 

©Bill Lea 

Accommodating wilc 

an humans and wildlife co- 
exist on a military instaila- 
^ tion? Fort Belvoir, a U.S. 

-___--' Army Garrison located in the 
southeastern part of Fairfax County, strives to 
maintain and enhance wildlife habitat, biodi- 
versity, and aesthetics while responding to the 
development needs that arise from mission 
requirements and base realignments. Envi- 
ronmental stewardship is a major focus of 
Fort Belvoirs command group and staff. 

One of the ways that development on 
the base affects wildlife is by fragmenting 
habitat, which threatens the abundance and 
biological diversity of species. To mitigate the 
ecological impacts of habitat fragmentation, 
larger forested areas can be reconnected by 
constructing crossings that allow for the safe 
movement of wildlife between such areas. 

In 1993, the garrison established the 
Fort Belvoir Forest and Wildlife Corridor, a 
continuous forest band between the Jackson 
Miles Abbott Wedand Refuge in the north- 
eastern corner and the Accotink Bay Wildlife 
Refuge in the south-central portion of the in- 
stallation. The purpose of the corridor is to 

prevent genetic isolation of animal popula- 
tions by fostering the movement of wildlife 
and providing continuous forest habitat for 
activities like foraging, bedding, and breed- 
ing. According to Michael Hudson and Gre- 
gory Fleming in Fort Belvoir's BRAG 
Operations Office, the Fort Belvoir Forest 
and Wildlife Corridor connects larger natural 
areas, such as Huntley Meadows Park to the 
north and Pohick Bay Regional Park, Mason 
Neck State Park, and Mason Neck National 
Wildlife Refuge to the south, to create a 1 5- 
mile continuous corridor, which helps to im- 
prove genetic diversity off-site. 

Current management plans contain rec- 
ommendations regarding the maintenance 
and enhancement of existing wildlife cross- 
ings and identify locations for future wildlife 
crossing structures to direct animal move- 
ment close to home — across the installations 
roads. According to Fleming, numerous fac- 
tors are considered when designing crossings 
for optimal wildlife use, such as whether 
wildlife species will cross at the specified loca- 
tion, the crossing will fit into the surrounding 
landscape, and the dimensions of the crossing 

Fort Belvoir 
Wlldllfs Road Crossings 

Fort Belvoir Wildlife Road Crossings Map 

This map depicts the expansion of wildlife 
refuges, as well as the wildlife crossings de- 
signed and/or established, on Fort Belvoir. 
(Map courtesy ofthe U.S. Army.) 

will accommodate the targeted species. Some 
animals tend to follow water sources, while 
others stick to migratory routes. 

The garrison has constructed three addi- 
tional wildlife crossings for large mammals, 
small mammals, and amphibians to cross be- 
neath roads on the installation. These struc- 
tures are intended to connect forest habitat 
and help maintain abundant, healthy, and di- 
verse wildlife populations that exist on and 
off the installation. They are also intended to 
reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, thereby 
lowering the risk of harm to people, animals, 
and property. 

™ This article was contributed by Tara £ Wiedeman, 
= Senior Associate and Project Manager at Travesky 
© & Associates, Ltd. 




nm M 

Large Mammal Crossing 

The box culvert on the left allows the safe passage of large mammals (e.g., coyotes and 
deer) under Pohick Road, between the Staff Sgt. John D. Linde Visitor Center and the Recy- 
cling Center. This crossing connects a training area to the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge and 
serves as a stormwater overflow device during high water events. The box culvert on the 
right was established to support the normal flow of the stream beneath the road. (Photo 
by Gregory W. Fleming, Environmental Specialist, Fort Belvoir BRAC Operations Office.) 

Small Mammal Crossing 

Since the pipe in the stream channel on 
the left contains water flow control de- 
vices, a secondary pipe was installed on 
the right to assist small mammals (e.g., 
groundhogs, foxes, opossums, raccoons, 
and skunks) to cross Gunston Road, be- 
tween 1st Street and 3rd Street, and to ac- 
commodate stormwater overflow. This 
pipe connects a small, wooded patch and 
a training area. (Photo by Gregory W. 
Fleming, Environmental Specialist, Fort 
Belvoir BRAC Operations Office.) 

MAY 2012 ♦ 31 

Photo Tips 

by Lynda Richardson 

Give Yourself a Photography Assignment: Practice! 

While brushing up on my studio photography skills, I asked my Jack Russell terrier, Miss Bug, if she 
would pose as a butterfly for me. Thank goodness she's a patient and skilled (though underpaid) 
model. © 2012 Lynda Richardson 

I can tell that I get really rusty if I'm not 
shooting images all the time. As with any 
skill, you need to practice to retain a certain 
level of expertise. To stay on top of their 
game, a musician, a ballerina, or a golf pro 
need weekly — if not daily — practice. And so 
does a serious photographer. 

Some photographers just pick up their 
cameras to shoot special occasions, such as a 
vacation or a birthday party. I have to say that 
if I waited that long in between shooting, I 
would forget the features on my camera! 

So I like to go out and practice. One day, 
I might work on reconnecting with my 
macro abilities, while other times I might re- 
fresh my long lens flash photography skills. I 
haven't done much studio work lately, so I've 
been practicing those skills using my little 

Jack Russell terrier. Miss Bug, as a model. I 
have also been going over my image process- 
ing skills to stay current with the latest com- 
puter software improvements. 

When I used to whitewater kayak, a 
"bombproof" roll was an extremely impor- 
tant skill to have. Being able to right your 
boat immediately after it flips over in a fast- 
swirling current is essential and sometimes a 
life or death skill. Every whitewater kayaker 
practices their roll because constant practice 
reinforces the body's "muscle memory" to go 
into action, particularly in stressful situations. 
Your life literally depends on your ability to 
successfully roll your boat! 

Practicing photography is like rolling 
your boat. You give your hands and brain 
"muscle memory" to react accurately and 

quickly in any circumstance. Something 
practiced becomes second nature. If the per- 
fect scene plays out before you, do you want 
to be fumbling with your camera and miss 
the greatest photograph of your life? I think 
not! Practicing your photographic skills will 
do nothing but help you become a better 

Self-assignments can be really flan and 
challenging. Here are some examples of self- 
assignments that you may find usefiil: 

l.Pick your least favorite lens or focal 

length and use only that to shoot for the 


2. Pick a location and only photograph 
things that are a specific color, like pur- 
ple or orange; 

3. Only photograph subjects that are 
backlit and use your pop-up flash to add 
light to them; 

4. Hunt for and photograph things in the 
shape of a heart; 

5. Only photograph monochromatic im- 
ages or scenes; 

6. Select a 5' by 5' area and spend 30-60 
minutes photographing things inside 
that space and that space alone. 

Does that give you some ideas? 

The old adage "practice makes perfect" 
has real truth and purpose behind it. You 
might not need to roll a kayak, but you do 
need to be bombproof when those photo- 
graphic opportunities present themselves! 
Good Luck and Happy Shooting! 

Lynda Richardson's 
Photography Workshops 

All classes are held at Lewis Ginter Botan- 
ical Garden. Go to www.lewisginterorg 
to register and look under Adult & Family 
Education or call (804) 262-9887 X322 



n th6 \A/at6r 

by Tom Guess 

All Too Often 

I often reminisce about my childhood 
when May arrives and I walk outside with 
sleepy eyes into the early morning warmth of 
the sun heating my face. The smells of freshly 
cut grass mixed with a hint of onion and other 
spring aromas remind me that it's time to start 
shifting my thoughts to Mothers Day, sum- 
mer vacations, the Memorial Day holiday, hit- 
ting the water to fish and boat, and National 
Safe Boating Week. 

What? National Safe Boating Week? 

The National Safe Boating Campaign 
and National Safe Boating Week are held each 
year during the week leading up to Memorial 
Day. This year's campaign rims May 19-25. 
The focus is always on reminding people that a 
life jacket will save your life and, more simply, 
to "Wear It! " not just during this week but 
throughout the entire boating season. Much 
like a seatbelt, it's too late to put on a life jacket 
after a boating accident. A life jacket is vet)' 
difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to 
put on in the water because of its inherent 

On average, 500 people drown annually 
nationwide while boating due to not wearing a 
life jacket. Here in Virginia, we experience an 
averse of 20 fatalities annually, with over 85 
percent of them being attributed to drowning 
due to capsizing or falls overboard while not 
wearing an approved life jacket. A person who 
finds himself in the water unexpectedly is 4.4 
times more likely to drown without a life jack- 
et, even if they are an exceptional swimmer. 

It was just one of those warm, late spring 
days that I recall while serving in the U.S. 
Coast Guard as officer in charge of a station on 
the Middle Peninsula. This particularly beau- 
tiful day, we received a call for a possible 
drowning from a fall overboard. When we ar- 
rived on the scene, we were told by the family 
that a middle-aged gentleman had decided to 
do some fishing in a cove in front of his prop- 
erty while his entire family was gathered for a 
cookout. While he was maneuvering his boat 

to the spot where he wanted to fish, he fell 
into the water without wearing his life jacket. 

Unfortunately, he was imable to swim 
and, to add to the misfortune, none of his 
family members on shore — only a few hun- 
dred feet away — noticed him fall overboard. 
Once they realized he was not on his boat, it 
was too late. He disappeared below the sur- 
face and subsequendy drowned in front of his 
family in about six feet of water. When we ar- 
rived on the scene, we discovered that his 
boat, a typical rim-about, had all of the ap- 
propriate safety equipment onboard. But, as 
is the case all too often, his approved life jacket 
was on the deck next to his seat. 

This is a sobering and all-too-familiar 
sight in boating accidents... and a stark re- 
minder of how things could have turned out 
much differendy. 

Remember, while you're on the water 
this boating season: Be Responsible by not con- 
suming alcoholic beverages while operating a 
boat; Be Safe and always wear an approved 
and properly fitting life jacket; and Have Fun, 
because this is what boating should be about! 

Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret), serves as the 
state boating law administrator at the DGIF. 





MAY 2012 ♦ 33 


by Ken and Maria Perrotte 


This sandwich is a cross between a taco and a fajita. Guess 
diat would make it a "tajita" and it's a good recipe to try 
for your Cinco de Mayo table. We tried and tweaked a couple of 
existing fish taco recipes, but finally decided to create something 
both intuitive and spontaneous. 

For this dish, you can use just about any kind of firm, flaky 
white fish — from catfish to crappie in the freshwater realm to 
rockfish, flounder, and mahi-mahi in salt water. The key is not 
using fillets that are too thin. You want some substance when 
you sink your teeth into the meal. Also, the two sauce options 
are better if made ahead of time. They can be stored in an air- 
tight container in the refi'igerator for a day or two. 

Get creative with toppings and garnishes. Ideally they 
should provide some texture, including a little crunch, and ofi^- 
setting flavors to the heat from some of the spices and jalapeno. 
Everything from chopped cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, or peeled 
and diced cucumbers could be used. 


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 

44 cup chopped yellow or Vidalia onion 

1 cup chopped sweet green, yellow 
and/or red peppers 

'72 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced or very 
thinly sliced (seeds and ribs removed) 

2 teaspoons diced rehydrated dried 
Mexican peppers (we like Guajillo or 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 pound fish fillets 

Dash cayenne pepper 

Dash salt and black pepper 
4 flour tortillas, 6- to 8-inch diameter works best 
1 tablespoon chopped scallions (green onions) 
1 ripe avocado, sliced 
1 ripe mango, sliced with some slices cut small in a julienne style 


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium 
low heat. Saute the onions and sweet peppers for a couple of 
minutes, adding a litde salt and pepper, until they begin to get 
soft. Add the hot peppers and garlic and cook another couple of 
minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. 

In the same skillet, add the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle 
the fish with salt and pepper and cook over medium to medi- 
um-high heat until opaque. The fish also could be grilled or 
even fried, if you prefer. 

Break the fish into ample chunks or strips and place the 
pieces in warmed tortillas. Spoon the vegetables over the fish 
and place a slice of avocado and a sprinkling of julienned 
mango and chopped scallions into the tortilla. Top with a dol- 
lop or two of favored sauce. Add bigger mango and avocado 
slices to the plate. Serve immediately. Red beans and rice 
make a nice side dish. Serves 2. 

Sour Cream Taco Sauce 

3 tablespoons sour cream 

3 tablespoons mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions (green onion) 

1 small clove garlic, finely minced 

Vi teaspoon lime zest 

1 Vi teaspoon diced rehydrated dried Mexican peppers 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro 

V4 teaspoon cumin 

V& teaspoon coriander 

Vz teaspoon paprika 

Va teaspoon salt 

1 Vi teaspoons lime juice 

Yogurt and Dill Sauce 

3 tablespoons plain yogurt 
3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions (green onion) 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro 

Vi fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced (seeds and ribs removed) 
Va teaspoon dill 
Va teaspoon cumin 
Va teaspoon salt 

2 teaspoons lime juice 

Combine all sauce ingredients. To rehydrate dried peppers, 
place in a pan of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, and 
let sit for at least an hour. Slice open and remove the stem, 
seeds, and membranes. Guajillos have a strong, papery skin. 
If the skin remains tough, scrape out the flesh and discard the 
skin. Chop and whisk together or puree everything in a food 



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If fishing In designated stocked trout watei^ 
both a freshwater and trout license are required. 


Identmcation Program 


You Must Register Yearly If You: 

• Are exempt from buying a saltwater license 

• Fish for saltwater species in tidal freshwater 

You Do Not Need to Register If You: 

• Have a Virginia or PRFC saltwater license 
• Are under the age of 16 

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or call toll-free 800-723-2728. 

The Virginia Fisherman Identification Program is a state 

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